N.J. Constitutional Convention: Vol. 4, Page 162

Tuesday, July 1, 1947 (Afternoon session)

statutory. I think those subjects should be covered. It was hard enough to get this much in. That didn't stay very long.

MR. DIXON: The Constitution didn't mention that; it just stated that the judges should be retired at 70. Would an attempt to pass a statute to retire a judge on account of disability, would it be thrown out?

MR. WATSON: I don't think so. You could provide by statute - you could not circumscribe the Constitution. You could add to it additional provisions.

MR. DIXON: I take it that you don't feel at all that we ought not to distinguish between equity and law, and have all the cases go into the court with the same judge, regardless, just the same as they do in the federal court.

MR. WATSON: I think not.

MR. DIXON: You think we ought to have divisions?

MR. WATSON: I suppose it happens to other states, too, a lot of times, and effort has been spent and labor has been spent to ascertain what other states have done about this, and that, and the other thing. But after all is said and done, these important questions will be decided in the light of New Jersey experience, New Jersey tradition, New Jersey geography, and New Jersey needs. Now, there is such a strong tradition for the Court of Chancery in the State of New Jersey, that in my judgment it would be well to maintain a separate equity branch.

MR. DIXON: However, you are setting this thing up so that on cases that have some law and a lot of equity, or a lot of law and a little equity, still goes through one court.

MR. WATSON: Exactly - where one judge has to decide the whole thing.

MR. DIXON: Now, if you go that far, you are going to pick that line of cases out and say, "Well, we'll dismiss these cases, they are not going to be very well adjudicated, because the judge doesn't have the right experience." But on the other hand, where it is clearly equity and clearly law, they will do a better job there.

MR. WATSON: I don't admit that. I think those cases will be just as well decided as the other, in my judgment, solely because of the strong tradition in New Jersey for a separate Court of Chancery. It would antagonize many, resistance would be set up and probably jeopardize the entire document.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: If it weren't for that, just discussing your thought as to what would be a perfect system -

MR. WATSON: One trial court.

VICE-CHAIRMAN: One trial court with complete merger?

MR. WATSON: Right.

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